Dynasty Diatribe: Taking Accountability for my Cold Takes

Josh Brickner

If you’re like me, you enjoy watching reruns of The Office – one of the greatest television comedy series of all time (don’t @ me) – on Comedy Central from time to time (read: all the time). I caught an episode recently that not only had me thinking about fantasy football analysis, but life in general.

Our hero (anti-hero?), Regional Manager Michael Scott comes up with a Willy Wonka inspired Golden Ticket promotion giving the customers a 50% discount on that order of paper. The gimmick goes awry when the boss puts all of the lucky coupons on the same order for one of their largest clients leading to a huge revenue loss. When the CFO of the company demands a meeting, Michael convinces his yes-man Assistant (to the) Regional Manager Dwight Schrute to take the blame for the idea.

Hilarity ensues when Dwight is commended for the creativity, driving his boss absolutely crazy! Our main character ends up coming clean making only one (unreasonable) request from the whole ordeal, “I do want the credit without any of the blame.”

i do want the credit without any of the blame.

The Dizzying Victory Laps

There seems to be an epidemic on fantasy football Twitter (specifically on the dynasty side of things) to take an immediate victory lap when a prediction appears correct. The same echo chamber filled with creative GIFs gloating about how Josh Allen is the second coming of Ben Roethlisberger one week is filled with the same GIFs from different sources proclaiming the Buffalo rookie an unquestioned bust the next. I have no immunity to the victory lap virus as I was (am) more than proud of being an early redraft believer of both Alvin Kamara and JuJu Smith-Schuster a season ago.

At first, I thought the entire fantasy industry had a case of ‘the Michael Scott’s’ where we wanted to shout our victories from the rooftop while trying to brush aside our failures. However, this is not the case at all as the answer is much more complicated. Certain members of the general public love have no issues reminding us of our misses.

We are not Biff Tannen

The dial was turned to Sirius XM Fantasy Monday morning when I heard a voicemail from a listener who was less than pleased regarding the advice he received for his week five lineup. The man asked the personalities on the channel to “Stop making wrong predictions”. I was floored. Did this man think not only the hosts on the channel but the entire fantasy football industry was purposely giving him bad advice? Does he think Scott Fish or Howard Bender are in their pre-show meetings creating ways to destroy this gentleman’s fantasy squad?

SPOILER ALERT: fantasy analysts do not have a copy of Biff Tannen’s almanac from Back to the Future II, thus lacking the ability to predict the future with flawless accuracy. I promise if we had prior knowledge before Sunday that Aaron Jones was going to become a ghost in the second half or Julio Jones would be mediocre against the Steelers porous secondary, the fantasy football consuming public would have been made aware.

As fantasy football prognosticators, we make educated guesses based on countless hours of researching analytical statistics, coaching tendencies/gameplans, matchup data, etc. A matchup which appeared to be can’t miss on paper all week can do just that come Sunday. As Sportscenter anchor Kenny Mayne puts it, “…games aren’t played on paper, they are played by little men inside our TV sets.” Football, especially at its highest level, can be an unpredictable game and if you’re expecting fantasy analysts to be perfect in their predictions then you will ALWAYS be disappointed.

Taking Accountability and Changing Course

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Luckily for me, with only a nominal Twitter following, I’m most often able to escape the wrath of the unwashed masses of social media trolls for a fantasy fail. The main point these agitators need to understand is 99.9% of fantasy analysts would not give advice which they would not use for their own teams. I have many shares of Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Tyler Kroft on my dynasty rosters and don’t own Phillip Lindsay anywhere (redraft included).

Yes, I’ve made a few calls this season that I can confidently proclaim after five weeks are… ahem, dead wrong! An important aspect of success in dynasty football is realizing you are incorrect regarding a prediction/player and changing course immediately when necessary. While it’s admirable to “die on a hill”, for a player you truly believe in, the exercise becomes harmful (read: extremely stupid) when that stubbornness starts to harm your dynasty teams.

To demonstrate I practice what I preach, I will pinpoint three predictions I have got wrong this 2018 season and the best course of action moving forward regarding the players in these fantasy fails.

Prediction Fail #1: Austin Seferian-Jenkins will finish 2018 as a TE1

What I Thought Would Happen

Truther. Apologist. Fanboy. All of these words accurately sum up my affinity for one Mr. Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Yet, this was the year I expected the former Buc to finally live up to his dynasty potential. Without a true number one receiver on the roster, an offensive coordinator with a history of producing fantasy relevant tight ends, and a quarterback who loved throwing short routes in Jacksonville, I believed a sober ASJ could be a PPR and red zone monster in the rejuvenated Jaguars’ passing attack having a breakout year.

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What Actually Happened

After the season’s first two contests, the former Washington Huskie had caught six of his ten targets for 48 yards and a touchdown (while having another called back on a holding penalty) but was still ranked as TE16 in the current tight end wasteland. The Jaguar passing attack has looked potent at times; unfortunately for us ASJ believers, Dede Westbrook (24-349-1), Keelan Cole (21-295-1), and Donte Moncrief (18-249-2) have been the main fake football beneficiaries.

Seferian-Jenkins saw his snap share unexplainably took a massive dip (37.3%) the last two games until the mystery was solved on Monday. Jacksonville placed the big-bodied tight end on Injured Reserve with a core muscle injury that had been hampering him all season.

What to do Moving Forward

There’s only one of my dynasty rosters that doesn’t include Austin Seferian-Jenkins (I even punted on tight end in my big money redraft league and started the season with him as my TE1) so we’re all brothers and sisters in the struggle. The Jacksonville tight end isn’t eligible to return until Week 14 so his current trade value has hit rock-bottom. I’ll be holding as there’s a chance a healthy and rejuvenated ASJ comes back for the Jaguars’ playoff run and regains some value heading into the off-season. If the injury lingers and/or he’s ineffective upon his return, then it will be time to make the difficult decision to sever ties with my man crush.

Prediction Fail #2: Royce Freeman, not Phillip Lindsay, is the Running Back to Own in Denver

What I Thought Would Happen

Phillip Lindsay’s week one performance was a nice sentimental story, but Royce Freeman would be the alpha dog of the Denver backfield committee. Freeman not only had the draft capital (third round) over the UDFA, but his size (6-0, 229 lbs) was more built for the lead back role in the offense while Lindsay’s opening weekend performance would be the high water mark of his season.

What Actually Happened

Draft capital be damned as Lindsay (65) not only has more touches than Freeman (53) on the season, but has outproduced the Oregon product in both the ground (Lindsay: 57-328-1; Freeman: 49-250-3) and aerial attack (Lindsay: 8-65-1; Freeman 4-21-0) leading the University of Colorado product (RB21) to be the more valuable PPR fantasy back over the former Duck (RB31) through the first five weeks. In worse news for Freeman owners (and the opposite for holders of Lindsay), the third round rookie recorded his fewest rushing attempts (5) of the season in week five just four days after his head coach proclaimed he “needed more touches.”

What to do Moving Forward

Phillip Lindsay is not Kevin Ogletree (as I incorrectly compared the two after week one) and is the asset to own in the Denver backfield in all formats. The coaches appear to be trusting the former Buffalo more and more as he’s converted his six goal-line touches (inside the ten-yard line) the last two weeks into a touchdown while Freeman has been given no such touches. The only concern with Lindsay is long-term durability as he’s much smaller (5-8, 190 lbs) than your prototypical lead back. Yet, the Broncos’ coaching staff seems to be smart in managing his touches. Have a hole at the running back position on your roster? Make a strong offer to acquire the hometown hero as he will be a solid RB2 with upside for the remainder of the season.

Prediction Fail #3: Tyler Kroft has Sneaky TE1 Value with Tyler Eifert’s Injury History

What I Thought Would Happen

Given his finish in 2017 (PPR TE15) with starter Tyler Eifert missing 13 games, Tyler Kroft could finish the season as a TE1 if Eifert missed any significant time given Andy Dalton’s propensity of targeting his tight ends in the red zone.

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What Actually Happened

C.J. Uzomah. If anyone outside of Uzomah’s immediate family predicted he would out-snap (159-93), get more targets (7-5), and be more productive than Kroft over the first four games then your analytical capabilities might border on the supernatural. The rest of us mere mortals (and Kroft owners) were not surprised this past Sunday when Uzomah dominated the snap share (91.7%-40%), targets (2-1), and fantasy output (43 receiving yards vs. a goose egg) with Eifert on the shelf for the season.

What to do Moving Forward

As mentioned above, I’m stuck with Kroft’s rotting fantasy carcass on several highly competitive tight end premium dynasty squads after acquiring him this August. The Rutgers product will only become a useful dynasty asset if Uzomah misses any time this season. Therefore, put Kroft at the top of your dynasty death row and cut him if ANY player comes available who has more value than nothing. Grab Uzomah if he’s still available as he should make a solid weekly streamer if you’re in a bind (which we all seem to be at tight end).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; the key to success for players in this fake football game we all love is not only having the talent to thrive but the opportunity to do so. All dynasty degenerates love when a prospect they’ve touted all off-season breaks out and brings immediate returns to your roster. However, the manager who reads the tea leaves when incorrect regarding an asset’s opportunity and makes swift changes is already miles ahead of his/her competitors. This ability to swallow your pride for the betterment of your team’s long-term viability is what separates the true contenders from the social media blowhards.


josh brickner